Monday, August 15, 2011

Rivers of Living Water by Suzanne Lorente

What I Thought:

Suzanne Lorente is beautiful. Her voice and her heart are full of love and joy. I was blessed to first hear Suzanne sing when I was in high school and attended Los Gatos Christian Church. She was one of the choir members as well as one of the soloists. Her voice is like melted, thick, and oh so addicting. I'm so glad that she made this cd. I hope that you visit her website and listen to her music. It is so relaxing and soothing.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card artist is:

and the CD:

Rivers of Living Water

Lorente Publishing

***Special thanks to Suzanne Lorente for sending me a review cd.***


Suzanne Perry Lorente has been a child of the Lord since age 7. Her gift of music began at age two and has carried her through her life. She is an accomplished long time song writer, singer, guitarist and performer from the age of 13. At a young age, Suzanne chose a career of a professional entertainer as a single singer/guitarist in well known night clubs, dinner houses and special events, with a repertoire of more than 400 songs. During this same time frame, she achieved an Associate of Arts degree in Mass Media from Stephens College in Columbia, MO, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from San Jose State University in California. As time marched along, she realized God's calling on her life to turn her heart toward Him as she could hear that "still, small voice" asking her to leave the relentless work of night clubs and secular entertainment. "It was a vow that took place in a day, and His promise took place over my lifetime. I am so blessed and God has kept His promise that He would give me the songs to sing for His children and for His glory." Suzanne has sung first of all for her family, then in choirs, started and sang in many small groups and trios, sang solo for so many audiences and congregations throughout the United States, and left behind a legacy of musical scenarios as she tells her stories of how each of her songs came about. She has recorded an ageless cassette that continues to be in demand, and a new CD, that has high-lighted the songs God has given to her. Suzanne has been teaching voice and guitar since she was 14 years old. She is presently singing in the little City of Dixon, CA for their Farmers Markets, weddings, and events, as well as with her trio, Suzanne Lorente and Friends, as they embark on recording a CD together. They are out doing concerts whenever possible and wherever the Lord leads. "It's wonderful to see God change the lives and hearts of people as we just sing our songs and allow Him to work through us. I love that!"

Visit the author's website.


This CD is a wonderful spiritual uplift and encouragement for any Christian who wants to grow, not only by hearing God's Word, but by doing what He's asking us to do. We have to take that first step and that's what this CD motivates believers and non-believers to do. The songs are original Christian Gospel scenarios that anyone can relate to, and that's what gives you the anointing strength to keep on going. You will love the beautiful orchestral and vocal backgrounds with each song as Suzanne Lorente and her trio envelope you with their angelic harmonies. God has put His Hand of blessing on Suzanne and given her songs throughout her lifetime of ministry. She and her gals are planning a tour and would love to include your church or event if it's possible. May God bless every listener and urge them to follow the Lord by listening to His "Still, Small Voice!"

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Music CD
Publisher: Lorente Publishing
Language: English

(To hear more samples, please visit Suzanne's website)

Here is one of the songs, "Misunderstood." This song is an original of mine written on January 1st of 2010. I am the voice for those who have been aborted, abused and misunderstood. This is quite sad, but it's telling us that each one of these has identified with the misery, torture, and abuse that Jesus went through on the cross. Many 100's of thousands have died a martyr's death, and are with the Lord because He loves them. Please listen carefully! This could be such a blessing for the Christian pregnancy centers and homes of abused women and children.

Here are the lyrics:

Misunderstood – Matthew 18:1-7

Words and Music by Suzanne Lorente

Arranged by Jeannine O’Neal

How can it be they don’t hear them, they don’t see

What can I say? Jesus loves them, they are free.

No-one will take time to listen as they cry

Knowing that I have the answer, I know why.

They’ve been misunderstood time after time

Their tiny voices still ring in our minds

No-one to love them, no-one to care

What they have to say doesn’t matter…anyway.

There is a hard part to living, not to be heard

Hate takes the joy out of giving, their vision blurred

Where is the love that could give them wings to fly?

Knowing that I have the answer, I know why.

They’ve been misunderstood time after time

Their little voices still ring in our mind

No-one to hear them, no-one to care

What they have to say doesn’t matter…anyway.

Could you be one who can’t hear them, you can’t see?

Are you aware they are people like you and me?

What would have come of the children who were slain?

There’d be a world of compassion…no more pain!

We have misunderstood time after time

Their tiny voices still ring in our mind

Someone will love them, someone will care

What they have to say really matters…anyway.

He’s (Jesus) been misunderstood, but not for long

Each tiny baby to Him will belong.

He really loves them, He really cares

What He has to say is what matters…anyway!

What He has to say is what matters....anyway!
Matt. 18:1-7

Additional high vocals Suzanne Lorente, Cecelia Dettle

Copyright 2010 BMI-0777 All rights reserved

See my website for further information

Monday, August 08, 2011

Captain Jack's Treasure by Max Elliot Anderson

What I Think: If you have a 9-12 year old boy, here's a treat to give him! Max Anderson has written a wholesome and exciting series about pirates! Read the first chapter below. This is the second book in the series. You can order both books at

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Captain Jack's Treasure

Port Yonder Press (August 15, 2011)

***Special thanks to Chila Woychik of Port Yonder Press for sending me a review copy.***


Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a reluctant reader. After surveying the market, he sensed the need for action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 and up, especially boys.

Mr. Anderson was a producer of the nationally televised PBS special, Gospel at the Symphony that was nominated for an Emmy, and won a Grammy for the double album soundtrack. He won a best cinematographer award for the film, Pilgrim’s Progress, which was the first feature film in which Liam Neeson had a staring role.

He has produced, directed, or shot over 500 national television commercials for True Value Hardware Stores. Mr. Anderson owns The Market Place, a client-based video production company for medical and industrial clients. His productions have taken him all over the world including India, New Guinea, Europe, Canada, and across the United States.

Using his extensive experience in the production of motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, Mr. Anderson brings the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his stories.

Each book has completely different characters, setting, and plot. Young readers have reported that reading one of Mr. Anderson’s books is like being in an exciting or scary movie.

Visit the author's website.


Sam Cooper lives right near the ocean, on the Treasure Coast of Florida. All he’s ever heard about since he moved here were the fabulous treasures that have been found, and those still waiting to be discovered.

For his birthday, he received the gift of his dreams. It’s the latest, top-of-the-line, metal detector. Along with his friends, Tony, and Tyler, all are convinced that they will be the ones to dig up the next great find.

They meet a crusty sea captain named Jack. He’s fixing up an impossible looking old tub. The boys believe it’s going to be used to search for treasure at sea. They get permission from their parents to help with the restoration job in the hopes that Captain Jack will share his wealth.

When Sam’s father nearly dies, from a heart attack, the true values of life take on new importance and meaning.

What is Captain Jack’s mysterious secret? And what is he really planning to do with that boat?

Readers will gain a new appreciation for family, they will learn about the dangers of greed, and oh the stories Captain Jack can tell.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.95
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 178 pages
Publisher: Port Yonder Press (August 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935600141
ISBN-13: 978-1935600145


Catching the smugglers out on Lost Island was all that people around Harper’s Inlet could talk about for weeks. Everyone wanted to know which three brave boys had been involved. Sam, Tony, and Tyler weren’t allowed to tell anyone about the mystery. The FBI told them to keep it to themselves for their safety. They had become heroes, yet no one knew their names.

After going scuba diving, getting caught up in a terrible storm, and being stranded on Lost Island, it might seem that Sam Cooper and his friends, Tony and Tyler, would have had all the adventure any three boys could want for a summer, a year, or an entire lifetime. Only that’s not how it worked out. But then, that’s the way it is with boys. Boys are made for danger, adventure, excitement, and conquering things. And that’s exactly what these guys looked for all the time.

Chapter 1
Captain Jack’s Hopeless Boat

The storm Sam and his friends had survived wasn’t something any one of them could soon forget. Maybe they never would. So you might want to excuse Sam for what he thought one night, a couple of weeks later.

Lightning knifed across the night sky and thunder roared so loudly that Sam was sure his windows would shatter into a million pieces any second. It didn’t help much that his bedroom faced directly toward the ocean. And those silly stories about lightning coming from angels taking flash pictures, or thunder from them moving their furniture around up in heaven didn’t do him any good either. When he pulled the covers over his head his dark comforter still couldn’t keep out the bright flashes of light.

Sure glad I’m not out there on the ocean again tonight, Sam thought. Man, that’d be terrible.

Suddenly, as if he’d pushed the start button on a DVD player in his head, violent images of the storm he, Tony, and Tyler had survived, came crashing in. With each flash of light, he remembered how the mast had broken like a twig and the boat split in half while he and his friends held on to what was left.

Sam grabbed the extra pillow on his bed and held onto it for a few minutes with his eyes shut tight.

A little later, when he couldn’t sleep, Sam slipped out from the safety of his covers to get a better look at the angry storm. A huge surf crashed against the beach. He watched white caps on the pounding waves with each giant lightning bolt. The weather forecast this summer called for heavy storms in and around where he lived. The big one he and his friends had been caught out in was the first of the season.

Great, he thought. Another storm. Now we’ll have to forget our plans to go fishing in the morning.

Sam lived in Harper’s Inlet, Florida, not far from an area people call the “Treasure Coast.” “Treasure” should have been Sam’s middle name.

He and his friends had often seen people line the pier with their fishing poles dangling over the water below. Most of their time had been spent in the scuba course. Then, after the accident, their parents made them stay home. Part of the reason was to keep them away from each other, and because they’d done something so dangerous.

Sam and his friends had talked many times about how much fun it would be to go down to the pier, sit around, and do nothing all day. During all the time that Sam had to stay at home, just the idea of going outside again seemed like getting out of prison. Well, today was supposed to be their day. They had permission, Tony’s father bought the fishing licenses, and everything was set. Except now, the storm would probably change their plans. Sam climbed into bed again and somehow, even with all that racket, fell back to sleep.

“Sam, Sam, your friends are here!” his mother called from down the hall.

He sort of heard it, but the sound seemed to be coming from another world. And from the wild dreams he often had, he couldn’t be too sure. The next thing Sam knew, he became the jelly in a jam-pile sandwich on his bed. From out of nowhere Tony and Tyler jumped on top of him. Everybody knew, if Tony pounced on you, a guy wouldn’t forget it. They rolled Sam up in his covers and pushed him onto the floor.

Tyler was small for his age, but he still did his best to keep up with Sam and Tony. Tony could stand to skip a meal or two and he was never at a loss for something to say.

“Hey, you guys, cut it out!” Sam said.

“You cut it out!” Tony shouted. “We had to wake up early, get our stuff, and come over here, only to find you, king of the sleeping slugs, still in bed. Now get up.”

“But the storm.”

“What storm? Haven’t you looked outside? The sun is shining, there’s a nice breeze, and we already saw people fishing off the pier on our way over here.”

“Yeah,” Tyler said, “and they’re catching our fish.”

“So get moving before we drag you down there in your P J’s,” Tony threatened.

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“Oh wouldn’t we?”

With that, Sam broke away, ran to the bathroom, and locked the door so he could get ready. “Go on to the kitchen. My Mom will give you something to eat. I’ll be out in a minute,” he yelled from inside the room. Tony and Tyler did as he said—and before long he joined them.

Sam’s mother had packed a delicious lunch for each of them the night before. It included peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit punch, potato chips, chocolate cake, and a few surprises. Soon Sam and his friends were on their way, walking toward the pier, for a long lazy day.

Sam took a deep breath. “Sure is great to get out again.”

“I know,” Tony said. “I thought my dad would never get over us losing that catamaran.”

“Us?” Sam asked.

Tony just looked back at him.

“What are we going to use for bait?” Tyler asked.

“Nothin’, ” Sam said.

“What do you mean, nothin’?” Tony asked. “You just gonna whistle, and call ‘Here fishy, fishy, fishy’?”

“We’ll use lures that my dad gave me. They’ll look just like little fish to the big fish we’re after. I have a bunch in my tackle box. You guys can use any of them you want.”

Sam’s tackle box clanked and rattled as he walked toward the pier. Its green paint had plenty of scratches and rust from years of use. His grandfather had used the old thing first. Then he’d given it to Sam’s father. But his job as a research biologist didn’t leave much time for fishing. So he’d given the tackle box, and three rods and reels, to Sam.

The box had a black, metal handle on top, and a nearly scratched off sticker with a largemouth bass jumping out of the water on the end of a fishing line. Sam’s tackle box held extra reels, fishing line, several different lures, red and white plastic bobbers, lead weights—everything he’d need for fishing.

“Whatcha got in that box?” Tony asked.

Sam winked and said, “All I can tell you is, when it comes to fishing, if I don’t have it, we don’t need it.”

“Did I ever tell you about the last time I went fishing with my dad,” Tyler asked, “before we got divorced?”

“No, but I’m sure you’re about to,” Tony said.

“It was the funniest thing you ever saw. Well, I thought it was funny.” He blinked and jerked his head. “Anyway, we went out in this big boat with a bunch of other people. I hadn’t ever been fishing before.”

“So how’d you do?” Sam asked.

“That’s the funny part. I caught my dad...three times.”

“Ha! You must have thrown him back then ’cause I just saw him when we got rescued from Lost Island,” Tony said.

“It gets worse. I didn’t just catch him three times, but, call it beginners luck if you want to, I caught the most fish on the whole boat too!”

“How in the world did you do that?” Sam asked.

“I don’t know. All I did was drop my line in the water and bam, a fish hit my hook. I finally had to quit because I was getting so tired from pulling in all those fish.”

“You’re lyin’,” Tony said.

“Am not.”

Sam put his pole up on one shoulder. “I’ll bet that made the rest of the people feel better, you leaving a few more fish for them.”

He shook his head. “Not really. They still didn’t catch very many.”

“I can’t think of anything worse than catching your dad and the most fish,” Sam said.

“Well, it gets worse.”

“Not possible.”

“Yeah, because I got sick and threw up all over the deck.”

“Boy, I hate it when that happens,” Tony said.

“My dad hated it too. He kept on apologizing to all the people and the captain.”

“So what happened?” Sam asked.

“What happened is my dad has never invited me to go fishing again. I used to think that was one of the reasons he left us. Today is my first time fishing since that all happened.”

Sam smiled. “Promise me you aren’t going to catch any of us today, Tyler.”

“And no throwing up on the pier either,” Tony warned.

“I’ll try not to.”

By this time they were walking along the beach. They noticed several people searching in the sand with metal detectors.

“There’s a bunch of them out today. Wonder why?” Tyler asked.

“I read that it’s best to search for stuff right after a big storm like we had last night,” Sam said.

“How come?”

“Because all that wind and the waves tear up the sand and move it around so it’s easier to find things.”

“That must be right because I don’t remember seeing this many people most days.”

Sam let out a deep sigh. “Yeah, I really wish I had a metal detector.”

Tony added, “Think of all the money we could make with one of those babies.”

“We?” Sam asked.

“Well, you’d let us in on it, right?”

“I might.”

“You’d better.”

“Your dad could buy each of us one if he wanted to,” Tyler told Tony.

“Not after we lost his boat and all that scuba gear.”

Sam looked at him again. “We?”

Tony reached the pier and stepped onto its worn boards. Sam thought their footsteps sounded like the hollow booms of big base drums.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people fishing before either,” Sam said. “Wonder if the storm stirs up the fish, too?”

“Hey, Tyler,” Tony said. “Watch out for all these people. You wouldn’t want any of them to catch you.”

Sam and his friends had to walk way out near the end of the pier until they found an open spot where all three could set up. They began the long, lazy day of fishing they’d dreamed about for so long. space The hours crept by, the shadows grew longer, and each boy caught at least one fish.

“We didn’t do so well today,” Tyler complained. “Nothing like my last time.”

“It’s okay. That’s why they call it fishin’ and not catchin’,” Sam said.

It had been a fun day, but now it was time to pack up and head for home. Living by the ocean, Sam loved the water. He knew that Tony and Tyler loved it, too. The smells from the sea, the pelicans swooping down to gobble up a fish in their big scoop-of-a-mouth, the gentle breezes, all helped Sam and his friends to relax. They saw dolphins jumping far out in the water.

They came to the end of the pier, walked along the beach for a stretch, and turned toward Dodds’ Marina. Tony pointed to an old boat near the marina that they hadn’t really thought much about before.

“Hey, you guys,” Tony said. “Have you seen that sorry excuse for a boat? Man, he’s got to be kidding. You put that thing out in the water and it’d sink for sure.”

“I saw it when we came back from Lost Island,” Sam said.

They walked over to the dock for a closer look. The boat was in bad shape and needed more than a simple coat of paint. Some of the windows were broken, and the railings were either rusted or missing. Just then, a short, heavy-set man climbed up from below. He looked almost as worn out as the deck he stood on. His tired eyes searched around as he stretched, rubbed his back, and then saw something on the dock near where the Sam and his friends stood.

In a loud voice the man called out, “Ahoy, you boys. Could one of you toss me that rope by your feet?”

Sam looked down to see a large coil of rope. “You want the whole thing or just one end?”

“The end will do.”

Sam grabbed it and walked toward the side of the boat. He handed the rope up to the man and as he did, Sam stared at his dry, cracked hands. Some of the cracks were bleeding a little.

He didn’t know what to say, so he asked, “This your boat?”

“Naw, I found it bobbing around out there in the ocean, pulled her in, and claimed her for my own.”

“Really, you did that? Whose was it?”

“Probably belonged to pirates or smugglers, I expect.”

“How could that be? I mean, it’s in pretty bad shape,” Sam said.

“I’m just kidding you, matey. I bought her off a guy that was about to sell her for scrap. I’m fixin’ her up. She’s all mine.”

“Mister,” Tyler asked, “why isn’t your boat in the water?”

“They got me in this thing called a dry dock. That’s because she needs a lot of work on the topside, and the bottom.”

“I’ll say,” Tony whispered.

“Looks like you’re all by yourself. Isn’t anyone helping you?” Sam asked.

The old man shook his head. “Nope, just me, that’s all. You wouldn’t be looking for a job, now would ya?”

“A job? What kind of a job?”

“Helping me fix up this old tub. I could use the lot of ya.”

“I don’t know,” Sam answered. “I’d have to ask my dad.”

“That’s a good idea. Why don’t you do that? If your parents say it’s okay, come on back and I’ll put you to work. I’ll pay you for your trouble too.”

“We’ll tell you tomorrow if we get permission.”

“Sounds good to me. I’ll be right here. This pile of boards isn’t going any place unless a hurricane comes along. Right now that’s about the only thing that could move her from this spot,” he said, letting out a loud, long laugh. The boys could still hear it as they walked away.

“I think it’d be a great idea to work on that old boat. We could make some money, too,” Tyler said. “I wonder what he’s fixing it up for?”

“Probably to search for treasure. One look at him and anybody knows he could use the money,” Tony said.

“Is there any treasure around here?” Sam asked. “I read about the Treasure Coast before we moved.”

Tony laughed. “I can tell you aren’t from around here. The Treasure Coast is farther north.”

Sam stopped walking. “Oh, and I suppose boats can’t go up and down the coast?”

“Sure they do,” Tyler said.

“A treasure hunting boat. Yeah, I’ll bet that’s it,” Sam whispered.

“I think we should help him,” Tyler said. “Then he’ll feel like he has to invite us to go out and search for treasure with him. I mean, he’d have to share it with us like partners.”

Sam thought for a moment, “A treasure hunting ship. Wouldn’t that be something? Just think of all the gold and stuff we could find with a boat like that.”

Friday, August 05, 2011

Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh

What I Thought:

Tamara Leigh is so funny. She has a great way of writing that takes you into the endearing craziness of the main characters head. I liked this book particularly because I live in North Carolina in the same region as the setting. She has it down well. Love the accents, fun way of speaking, and loving Southern hospitality. Two thumbs way up for this one! I encourage you to read the first chapter below.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Restless in Carolina

Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)

***Special thanks to Ashley Boyer, Publicist, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***


Tamara Leigh began her writing career in 1994 and is the best-selling author of fourteen novels, including Splitting Harriet (ACFW Book of the Year winner and RITA Award finalist), Faking Grace (RITA Award Finalist), and Leaving Carolina. A former speech and language pathologist, Tamara enjoys time with her family, faux painting, and reading. She lives with her husband and sons in Tennessee.

Visit the author's website.


Tree-huggin’, animal-lovin’ Bridget Pickwick-Buchanan is on a mission. Well, two. First she has to come to terms with being a widow at thirty-three. After all, it’s been four years and even her five-year-old niece and nephew think it’s time she shed her widow’s weeds. Second, she needs to find a buyer for her family’s estate—a Biltmore-inspired mansion surrounded by hundreds of acres of unspoiled forestland. With family obligations forcing the sale, Bridget is determined to find an eco-friendly developer to buy the land, someone who won’t turn it into single-family homes or a cheesy theme park.

Enter J. C. Dirk, a high-energy developer from Atlanta whose green property developments have earned him national acclaim. When he doesn’t return her calls, Bridget decides a personal visit is in order. Unfortunately, J. C. Dirk is neither amused nor interested when she interrupts his meeting—until she mentions her family name. In short order, he finds himself in North Carolina, and Bridget has her white knight—in more ways than one. But there are things Bridget doesn’t know about J. C., and it could mean the end of everything she’s worked for…and break her heart.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601421680
ISBN-13: 978-1601421685


Deep breath. “…and they lived…”

I can do this. It’s not as if I didn’t sense it coming. After all, I can smell an H.E.A. (Happily Ever After) a mile away—or, in this case, twenty-four pages glued between cardboard covers that feature the requisite princess surrounded by cute woodland creatures. And there are the words, right where I knew the cliché of an author would slap them, on the last page in the same font as those preceding them. Deceptively nondescript. Recklessly hopeful. Heartbreakingly false.

“Aunt Bridge,” Birdie chirps, “finish it.”

I look up from the once-upon-a-time crisp page that has been softened, creased, and stained by the obsessive readings in which hermother indulges her.

Eyes wide, cheeks flushed, my niece nods. “Say the magic words.” Magic?

More nodding, and is she quivering? Oh no, I refuse to be a party to this. I smile big, say, “The end,” and close the book. “So, how about another piece of weddin’ cake?”

“No!” She jumps off the footstool she earlier dubbed her “princess throne,” snatches the book from my hand, and opens it to the back. “Wight here!”

I almost correct her initial r-turned-w but according tomy sister, it’s developmental and the sound is coming in fine on its own, just as her other r’s did.

Birdie jabs the H, E, and A. “It’s not the end until you say the magic words.”

And I thought this the lesser of two evils—entertaining my niece and nephew as opposed to standing around at the reception as the bride and groom are toasted by all the happy couples, among them, cousin Piper, soon to be wed to my friend Axel, and cousin Maggie, maybe soon to be engaged to her sculptor man, what’s-his-name.

“Yeah,” Birdie’s twin,Miles, calls from where he’s once more hanging upside down on the rolling ladder I’ve pulled him off twice. “You gotta say the magic words.”

Outrageous! Even my dirt-between-the-toes, scab-ridden, snot-on-the-sleeve nephew is buying into the fantasy.

I spring from the armchair, cross the library, and unhook his ankles from the rung. “You keep doin’ that and you’ll bust your head wide open.” I set him on his feet. “And your mama will—

”No, Bonnie won’t.

“Well, she’ll be tempted to give you a whoopin’.”

Face bright with upside-down color, he glowers.

I’d glower back if I weren’t so grateful for the distraction he provided. “All right, then.” I slap at the ridiculously stiff skirt of the dress Maggie loaned me for my brother’s wedding. “Let’s rejoin the party—”

“You don’t wanna say it.”Miles sets his little legs wide apart. “Do ya?” So much for my distraction.

“You don’t like Birdie’s stories ’cause they have happy endings. And you don’t.”

I clench my toes in the painfully snug high heels on loan from Piper.

“Yep.”Miles punches his fists to his hips. “Even Mama says so.”

My own sister? I shake my head, causing the blond dreads Maggie pulled away from my face with a headband to sweep my back. “That’s not true.”

“Then say it wight now!” Birdie demands.

I peer over my shoulder at where she stands like an angry tin soldier, an arm outthrust, the book extended.

“Admit it,”Miles singsongs.

I snap around and catch my breath at the superior, knowing look on his five-year-old face. He’s his father’s son, all right, a miniature Professor Claude de Feuilles, child development expert.

“You’re not happy.” The professor in training, who looks anything but with his spiked hair, nods.

I know better than to bristle with two cranky, nap-deprived children, but that’s what I’m doing. Feeling as if I’m watching myself from the other side of the room, I cross my arms over my chest. “I’ll admit no such thing.”

“That’s ’cause you’re afraid. Mama said so.” Miles peers past me.

“Didn’t she, Birdie?”

Why is Bonnie discussing my personal life with her barely-out-of-diapers kids?

“Uh-huh. She said so.”

Miles’s smile is smug. “On the drive here, Mama told Daddy this day would be hard on you. That you wouldn’t be happy for Uncle Bart ’cause you’re not happy.”

Not true! Not that I’m thrilled with our brother’s choice of bride, but…come on! Trinity Templeton? Nice enough, but she isn’t operating on a full charge, which wouldn’t be so bad if Bart made up for the difference. Far from it, his past history with illegal stimulants having stripped him of a few billion brain cells.

“She said your heart is”—Miles scrunches his nose, as if assailed by a terrible odor—“constipated.”


“That you need an M&M, and I don’t think she meant the chocolate kind you eat. Probably one of those—”

“I am not constipated.” Pull back. Nice and easy. I try to heed my inner voice but find myself leaning down and saying, “I’m realistic.”

Birdie stomps the hardwood floor. “Say the magic words!”

“Nope.”Miles shakes his head. “Constipated.”

I shift my cramped jaw. “Re-al-is-tic.”


Pull back, I tell you! He’s five years old. “Just because I don’t believe in fooling a naive little girl into thinkin’ a prince is waiting for her at the other end of childhood and will save her from a fate worse than death and take her to his castle and they’ll live…” I flap a hand. “…you know, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me.”

Isn’t there? “It means I know better. There may be a prince, and he may have a castle, and they may be happy, but don’t count on it lasting. Oh no. He’ll get bored or caught up in work or start cheatin’—you know, decide to put that glass slipper on some other damsel’s foot or kiss another sleeping beauty—or he’ll just up and die like Easton—” No,
nothing at all wrong with you, Bridget Pickwick Buchanan, whose ugly widow’s weeds are showing.

“See!”Miles wags a finger.

Unfortunately, I do. And as I straighten, I hear sniffles.

“Now you done it!” Miles hustles past me. “Got Birdie upset.”

Sure enough, she’s staring at me with flooded eyes. “The prince dies? He dies and leaves the princess all alone?”The book falls from her hand, its meeting with the floor echoing around the library. Then she squeaks out a sob.

“No!” I spring forward, grimacing at the raspy sound the skirt makes as I attempt to reach Birdie before Miles.

He gets there first and puts an arm around her. A meltable moment, my mother would call it. After she gave me a dressing down. And I deserve one. My niece may be on the spoiled side and she may work my nerves, but I love her—even like her when that sweet streak of hers comes through. “It’s okay, Birdie,” Miles soothes. “The prince doesn’t die.”

Yes, he does, but what possessed me to say so? And what if I’ve scarred her for life?

Miles pats her head onto his shoulder. “Aunt Bridge is just”—he gives me the evil eye—“constipated.”

“Yes, Birdie.” I drop to my knees. “I am. My heart, that is. Constipated. I’m so sorry.”

She turns her head and, upper lip shiny with the stuff running out of her nose, says in a hiccupy voice, “The prince doesn’t die?” I grab the book from the floor and turn to the back. “Look. There they are, riding off into the sunset—er, to his castle. Happy. See, it says so.” I tap the H, E, and A.

She sniffs hard, causing that stuff to whoosh up her nose and my gag reflex to go on alert. “Weally happy, Aunt Bridge?”


“Nope.” Barely-there eyebrows bunching, she lifts her head from Miles’s shoulder. “Not unless you say it.”

Oh dear Go—No, He and I are not talking. Well, He may be talking, but I’m not listening.

“I think you’d better.” Miles punctuates his advice with a sharp nod.

“Okay.” I look down at the page. “…and they lived…” It’s just a fairy tale—highly inflated, overstated fiction for tykes. “…they lived happily…ever…after.”

Birdie blinks in slow motion. “Happily…ever…after. That’s a nice way to say it, like you wanna hold on to it for always.”

Or unstick it from the roof of your mouth. “The end.” I close the book, and it’s all I can do not to toss it over my shoulder. “Here you go.”

She clasps it to her chest. “Happily…ever…after.”

Peachy. But I’ll take her dreamy murmuring over tears any day. Goodness, I can’t believe I made her cry. I stand and pat the skirt back down into its stand-alone shape. “More cake?”

“Yay!” Miles charges past me.

Next time— No, there won’t be a next time. I’m done with Little Golden Books.

Excerpted from Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh Copyright © 2011 by Tamara Leigh. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.